December 9, 2004, was one of those nights
that UMass students, alumni and fans will never forget.
The men’s basketball team pulled off one of
the biggest shockers of the year by knocking off rival
and defending national champion UConn, 61-59, in a
last-second classic at a packed Mullins Center.
But roughly 130 miles away on that same
night, just a few minutes before the tip-off of the
historic basketball game, the UMass hockey team found
itself on the opposite end of that emotional spectrum.
Matt Anderson, the team’s leading
scorer, was hit hard along the Whittemore Center boards
with just 10 minutes remaining in the game, which
turned out to be a 4-0 New Hampshire victory. He suffered
a horrible break in his right ankle, causing him to
miss the rest of the season.
On Saturday night, Anderson made his
return to the Whitt, and he turned in a performance
that would have been perfect for a Hollywood script.
In a 4-3 overtime win for the Minutemen – their
first victory in Durham since March 2, 2001, and first
win of any kind over UNH since March 19, 2004, in
the conference semifinals – Anderson scored
the second UMass goal of the game after putting a
great breakaway move on goalie Kevin Regan and then
assisted Chris Capraro’s third-period score.
Neither of those points, however, could
light a candle to what he did with 3.4 seconds to
play in overtime.
With about 15 seconds left on the clock
in the extra frame, Stephen Werner took possession
of the puck in the Minutemen zone and started the
transition down the ice. He bought some time, lured
the defensive pressure towards the right point and
then found Anderson with a crisp pass in the high
Anderson then wound up and uncoiled
a blistering slap shot that hit the back of the net
and caused a wild UMass celebration, which was just
a little bit more special for one player.
“It’s always great to get
a little bit of redemption, not against the UNH players,
but for myself,” Anderson said. “It’s
a really satisfying feeling.
“It’s a pretty special time
for me, personally. I’ve been through a lot
in the past year, physically, mentally, everything.
This just about sums it up.”
Werner, who said Anderson put together
his best game since suffering the injury, acknowledged
that the team had Matt in mind when they walked into
“It’s pretty emotional for
all of us, especially Matty,” Werner said. “We
all knew it, but we don’t really like talking
about it too much. I think everybody, even the freshmen,
knew that he was injured in this building his last
time here. We were all conscious of it, and that was
certainly one of our motivations for getting a win
Anderson was able to laugh a bit after
the win and said he gave the team a Whittemore Center
scouting report after he was resigned to watching
last season’s Feb. 11 road matchup in the stands.
“I was talking to the guys before
the game and said, ‘Oh yeah, they have really
great coffee here,’ because the last time I
was here, I was up in the stands drinking coffee,”
Anderson joked. “But it was nice getting out
on the ice. I didn’t sit in the same spot this
Entering the third period, the Minutemen
were holding onto a 2-1 lead, and Anderson’s
first goal would have held up as the game-winner if
the Wildcats couldn’t muster up any more offense,
causing a similar press box atmosphere as if a pitcher
were entering the seventh inning with a no-hitter.
Obviously, that didn’t turn out
to be the case, but the redshirt junior didn’t
let the overtime opportunity pass him by.
UMass coach Don Cahoon said this marked
the culmination of Anderson’s long road back
from his pair of season-ending injuries.
“I thought that this weekend was
very defining for him because that was the Matt Anderson
who I remember when he was at his best and doing some
great things for us a few years ago,” Cahoon
said. “It’s nice to have him back.”
SEEN AND HEARD IN HOCKEY EAST
We're Going Streaking! –
It’s a good thing that goal judges’
salaries aren’t based on commission, especially
the ones manning the nets of Cory Schneider and Joe
Though Fallon’s shutout streak came to an end
at 158:43 as the result of a Stephen Gionta goal in
the second period of UVM’s 2-0 loss at BC on
Friday night, his home streak is still standing strong
at exactly 245 minutes.
His overall mark of more than 158 minutes,
though, did break the school’s 35-year-old record,
held by Dave Reece, by about six minutes. Fallon also
recorded his 11th career shutout in a 3-0 win over
Northeastern on Jan. 14, which broke Tim Thomas’
school record of 10.
Schneider’s shutout streak now
stands at 217:49 following three straight blankings
of his opposition. Boston College’s all-time
mark belongs to Scott Clemmensen, who held his opponents
without a goal for 254:23 eight years ago this month.
And yes, that’s more than four hours of shutout
Great Weekend Getaway
Hampshire at Providence (Fri.) Providence is coming off a tough
split of a two-game series at Maine, but the
Friars have still lost three of their last four
games after winning six in a row. The Wildcats
were 4-0-1 in a five-game January stretch before
losing their wild overtime thriller to UMass
on Saturday. UNH's winning ways of late, coupled
with PC’s rocky start to the new year,
have pulled the Wildcats into a tie with the
Friars and Boston University for second place
in the conference.
There: At 2 p.m. on Saturday, the Providence
men’s hoops team takes on UConn, the new
No. 1 team in the nation, at the Dunkin’
Collins received some heavy praise
from a German hockey coach following BC’s
2-0 victory over Vermont on Friday night at
Kelley Rink. Before Collins and Cory Schneider
were dismissed from the post-game press conference
to make way for Jerry York, the German coach
broke out his praise for the nation’s
leader in goals per game.
“I am a hockey coach from
Europe, and this is my first game here to watch
BC,” the coach said. “I think Chris
would be the perfect player, after the college
level, if he were to play over in Europe. With
the bigger ice and the quality of your skills,
you have the ability to play your position in
the highest German league.”
Jeff Bunyon and his assistants Tim Low and Mike
Taddeo were right on top of a couple
plays at the Whittemore Center on Saturday night,
but seemingly only in physical form. UNH forward
Jacob Micflikier trucked UMass goalie Gabe Winer
during Joe Charlebois’ first-period score,
but the refs upheld goal and the score remained
Then, with less than three minutes
to play in the game, Brett Hemingway’s
pass to Mike Radja clearly deflected off Radja’s
skate into the net to tie the game at 3, but
Bunyon allowed that goal to stand, too, even
though Radja appeared to kick the puck.
If only Joey Porter were on hand
for this one…
Schneider can break that mark when the
clock reads “3:25” in the second period
of Friday night’s game at home against (who
else?) Boston University. He is currently 36:34 behind
Two other shutout streaks of note in
Hockey East this season belong to Maine’s Matt
Lundin – the second longest of the HEA goalies
this season – and Providence’s Tyler Sims,
the fourth-longest streak.
Lundin kept his opponents off the board
for 161:03 from Oct. 7 through Nov. 6 (which lasted
so long because Ben Bishop made six starts in between),
and it included shutouts against Alabama-Huntsville
Sims’ streak, from Oct. 14 to
Oct. 28, ended at 158:09. It included a pair of shutouts
over UMass Lowell.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Some people have already punched
Boston College’s tickets to the Frozen Four
in Milwaukee, but the Eagles accomplished a small
feat that was somewhat of a prerequisite for that
over the weekend. By taking four points from Vermont
in the two-game series, BC has now locked up a Hockey
East playoff spot.
• Vermont’s Jaime
Sifers has been named as one of seven finalists for
the 2006 Hockey Humanitarian Award, which is given
to college hockey’s finest citizen.
Coach Kevin Sneddon’s comments
about Sifers on the UVM athletics web site: “Jaime
is one of the toughest competitors in college hockey,
yet off the ice he is one of hockey’s finest
citizens. He has had a major impact on the growth
of community service participation during his time
at the University of Vermont. This is a tremendous
honor for Jaime, his family and the University.”
• How good is Maine’s penalty
kill? The Black Bears surrendered three power-play
goals to the Friars in two games this weekend, but
their 91.9 percent kill rate still ranks tops in the
• BU and BC are set to play their
final scheduled game together on Friday night at BC’s
Kelley Rink. The teams split a home-and-home on Dec.
2-3, with the Eagles winning 2-1 in their house on
Friday night and the Terriers taking a 6-2 game in
their barn on Saturday. Boston College has won seven
games in a row and is 9-0-1 in its last 10 since that
6-2 defeat at Agganis. Meanwhile, Boston University
is also riding a hot streak, winning its last five
contests. BU is 7-1-0 since its loss to BC.
• Merrimack has now lost 10 games
in a row and is 0-10-2 in its last 12 games, being
outscored 50-23 in that stretch. Northeastern ended
its eight-game skid with a tie at Lowell on Saturday
but is 0-10-4 in its last 14 contests, being outscored
47-24. Collectively, both teams have been outscored
44-12 in January, meaning every Hockey East team (with
the exception of Vermont’s nine) has scored
more January goals than Northeastern and Merrimack
variety of sources were utilized in the compilation
of this report.